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Pub Bombing campaigners welcome 'On the run' report

Terrorist suspects from the time of the Northern Ireland "Troubles" have been told today there is no amnesty, no get-out-of-jail card.

The remark was made by a judge investigating secret letters sent to Republicans - known as On The Runs, or OTRs - that they were no longer wanted by police for their alleged crimes.

The organisation representing 21 people killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings says this now ought to pave the way for the authorities to investigate suspects who have so far escaped justice. Keith Wilkinson reports.

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'Suspected terrorists not handed get out of jail free card'

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers, has made a statement in the House of Commons on the report published today by Lady Justice Hallett on the scheme dealing with so-called 'On The Runs'.

Lady Hallett's report concludes:

The administrative scheme did not amount to an amnesty for terrorists, suspected terrorists were not handed a get out of jail free card.

– Lady Hallett

Read: On The Runs inquiry finds system flawed bur not unlawful.

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Background to Northern Ireland 'On The Runs' crisis

  • Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson threatened to resign after the existence of the letters was made public.
  • David Cameron called the letters a "dreadful mistake".
  • The Good Friday Agreement of 1998 meant anyone convicted of paramilitary crimes was eligible for early release from prison.
  • However, this did not cover those suspected of such crimes, nor did it cover people who had been charged or convicted, but who had escaped from prison.
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Bombing victims' relatives protest at Windsor Castle

Relatives of people killed in IRA bombings have protested outside Windsor Castle ahead of a state banquet tonight which will be attended by Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

Relatives of the victims of IRA bombings protest outside Windsor Castle Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in the Birmingham pub bombings in 1974 called for Mr McGuinness to be arrested, claiming he was involved in the atrocity.

Victor Barker, whose son was killed in the Omagh bombing in 1998, said he wanted people to be "reminded of McGuinness' past" as a member of the IRA.

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Sister of Birmingham pub bombings victim: 'It's all a sham'

The relative of a woman who died in the Birmingham pub bombings has described the decision not to re-open the inquiry into attacks as 'a sham'.

Julie Hambleton, whose 18-year-old sister Maxine died in 1974, told ITV News Central that victims' families had been treated like 'cannon fodder'.

She was speaking following a meeting with bosses at West Midlands Police headquarters.

Police: 'impossible' to re-open pub bombings inquiry

The Chief Constable of West Midlands Police has told ITV News Central that it would be "impossible" to restart the investigation into the Birmingham pub bombings without new information.

In an interview with presenter Bob Warman, Chris Sims added however that "it certainly isn't closed".

In a statement, CC Sims added that an investigation carried out between 1991 and 1994 was of a "good standard":

“Nothing would give me more satisfaction than to bring those responsible for this atrocity to justice. However we have found no new evidence that would assist us in bringing anyone to justice for the pub bombings."

– Chris Sims, West Midlands Police
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